As part of National Nurses Week, Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital participated with other regional hospitals and medical employers in a celebration of their nursing staffs by soliciting nominations for Nursing Awards based on letters of nomination submitted by their patients and peers.
According to Marcus Daly’s Marketing and Communications Director, Amy James-Linton, the hospital performed extremely well in the awards program, receiving more nominations than any hospital or other medical employers. After collecting nominations, an independent panel of judges chose nine nursing professionals to represent thousands of their colleagues as part of celebrating National Nurses Week.
A tenth nominee was chosen by votes from friends, family and staff to receive the People’s Choice Award. That award went to Marcus Daly’s Inpatient Nurse and Nurse Educator Brittany Leatham-Olney, MSN-Ed.
“I am honored to have been nominated, let alone chosen as the People’s Choice Award Recipient. I try to model my nursing practice after the Patch Adam’s movie quote, “You treat the disease, you win or lose; you treat the person, you are guaranteed to win.”
Other nominees from Marcus Daly Hospital included Marcus Daly Clinic Nurses Heidi Baye, LPN from the Bitterroot Physicians Clinic and Tammy Bruns, RN from Hamilton Obstetrics and Gynecology; and hospital staff including Inpatient Nurse Todd Wohlman, MSN; Emergency Nurse Randy Yeargan, BSN; Inpatient Nurse Michelle Cornelison, RN; Emergency Nurse Leader Jennifer Bush, BSN; and Inpatient Nurse Cary Robinson, RN.
Humility characterized the general response of the nominees.
Nurse Tammy Bruns, for instance, who was nominated anonymously by one of her peers who found the 29-year veteran staff member to be “inspiring,” said that when someone told her that she was on the nominations list her response was, “You must have the wrong the person.” She said she doesn’t think of herself that way. She called it humbling and said it made her feel great that someone felt that way about her.
Nurse Randy Yeargan, a relatively recent hire in the ER, expressed similar feelings. He was recognized by patients for going above and beyond by adding home snow removal to some of his patient services. He said, “I’m no different than anybody else here. I mean, I’m honored to be nominated, but I don’t feel like anybody special. I just do what we do, care for people. We do things that anybody else would do if they had a neighbor in need.”
Nurse Heidi Baye, who has worked at the hospital for 20 years, chimed in saying, “That’s why we are here.” She said the hospital really was kind of a second family to her. She said working at Marcus Daly also allowed her to serve entire families in the community.
“I have babies for patients, I have their parents for patients, I even have some grandparents as patients and other family members,” she said.
A new recruit at the hospital hired fresh out of nursing school, Nurse Cary Robinson said that he was attracted to apply to Marcus Daly by the “small town feel” of the place.
He said after work here you can go out into the community and “you can talk to people and see them at their best because you have seen them at their worst.” He said it is rewarding to have that kind of contact in the community and in the workplace.
Nurse Manager Jennifer Bush said that compassionate and caring personality characteristics were at the top of her list in work requirements at the hospital. She also looks for problem solving skills, and willingness to be a team player besides all the technical skills required.
Nursing Director Kathy Padilla said she noticed that all the nominations mentioned the nominee’s “sense of community, knowledge and skill.”
“Every nomination included the words ‘compassion’ and ‘caring’,” she said.
Another thing that stood out, according to Padilla, was how every department at the hospital was touched by these nominations.
“What it means to me is we have been very consistent in our message to our staff to live the mission of the hospital and we are going to support you,” she said. She said nursing was a hard profession in a lot of ways. She said it was physically demanding and required you to work hard on your feet from 10 to 12 hours a day.
“Then there is the emotional side,” she said. “You can’t help it if you are a person of any sort of caliber, you give emotionally and that can be difficult as well.” She said whether it is sorrow or happiness, it is all part of a patient’s experience and “no matter what section of the hospital you work in, every day you give yourself up to your patient and then you have to come back the next day and do it again.”